Guest Post by Jenny Solar from The Happy Family Movement.
We started making the transition toward healthier eating sometime during the middle of last year. My husband, Josh, and I had just finished reading The Unhealthy Truth, and we knew that we had to make some serious changes.
At the time, our kids diets were full of artificial colors, high-fructose corn syrup, BHT, and crazy amounts of pesticides and hormones found in our milk, produce, and meat. We started on a long and slow journey toward changing our diet as a family. We’ve had some successes and some failures; so today, I’m going to share with you a few things we learned along the way!
Tip #1: Include your kids in the plan. I know it sounds obvious, but it will be a lot easier to change the things you’re eating if your kids are on board. We started having regular conversations with our three little kids about eating healthier. We explained to them exactly why artificial colors are bad. We told them why we didn’t want them eating high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). And then we taught them to read nutrition labels and ingredients lists. And we (successfully) enrolled them in the cause! Another reason to use the MOMables menus and let them pick their fruits and veggies.
Tip #2: Slow and steady wins the race. I was terrified that our kids would freak out about any changes we made to their food. Our kids are really picky, even to the extent of being brand-specific. So we started out slowly. The first thing I changed was the peanut butter. I started buying all-natural instead of the regular kind, which is loaded with HFCS. Then we switched to 100% organic fruit jelly and mostly organic produce and meats, and so on. We made these changes over 6 months; so both my family and our wallet got used to the changes one substitution at a time.
Tip #3: Don’t go crazy. One of the things Josh and I have said from the beginning is that we don’t want to take things to the extreme. Our kids still eat ice cream and cookies. If they’re at a birthday party with Cheetos and blue-iced cake, that’s fine. We recognize that the rules don’t have to apply 100% of the time—it’s more like an 80/20 thing; life should be lived in moderation. When we took the kids to see The Lorax recently, we bought M&M’s, GummieSavers, and Skittles. Then again, we go to the movies about twice a year.
What other things helped your family make the transition to healthier eating?
Josh and Jenny Solar are parents to three kids, Max, Ava, and Lia (and a basset hound named Banana). In addition to being full-time photographers, they created The Happy Family Movement in the spring of 2011 to encourage and inspire family togetherness through memorable family experiences and simple ideas for happy family living. The overarching goal of The Happy Family Movement is to rewrite the way our generation views raising kids—to seek out a happy family and find the JOY in parenting all over again.